1) “L.A.’s Finest” opener, 8 p.m. today, Fox. This is important – not because of the show itself (which is pretty good), but what it represents: It’s the start of a makeshift TV season – full-scale on Fox (including “The Simpsons,” shown here), fairly full on the other broadcast networks. “Finest” has already been on the Spectrum cable system, but it’s new to most viewers. Gabrielle Union (reviving her “Bad Boys II” character) and Jessica Alba play police detectives. The opener has clever dialog, movie-quality chase scenes … and absurd plot twists.
2) “The Simpsons” season-opener, 8 p.m. Sunday, Fox. And here’s proof that Fox isn’t filling its nights only with temporary shows. A few of its hits – “The Masked Singer” on Wednesdays, football on Thursdays (starting Oct. 8) and all four Sunday cartoons – are starting. For “The Simpsons,” that means lots of darkly funny moments. Stunned to learn that the workers hate him, Mr. Burns (shown here with the scheming Smithers) dons a disguise, in the “Undercover Boss” mode. Whenever the real Burns emerges, the humor gets quite nasty, but funny.
3) “Frontline: The Choice,” 9-11 p.m. Tuesday, PBS. Ever since 1988, PBS has been airing these richly detailed profiles of the presidential candidates. This time, the contrast are extreme – in background, in politics and in a key factor: the aftermath of mistakes. Joe Biden made big ones, including plagiarism and mis-stating his education; he apologized and adjusted. Donald Trump had bankruptcies, divorces, even a push for capital punishment of five men who were later proven to be innocent; he admits no mistakes.
4) “America’s Got Talent,” 8-10 p.m. Tuesday, 8-11 p.m. Wednesday, NBC. The ratings champ now has its 10 finalists. Half are singers – Roberta Battaglia, Kenadi Dodds, Cristina Rae, Daneliya Tuleshova and Archie Williams. There’s also a music duo (Broken Roots), a dance duo (BAD Salsa), an acrobatic trio (Bello Sisters), an aerialist (Alan Silva) and poet Brandon Leake. On Tuesday, they perform and viewers vote. On Wednesday, the performances rerun at 8 and the finale, with lots of fuss, starts at 9.
5) “Manhunt: Deadly Games,” 10 p.m. today, CBS. Sharply directed by Emmy-winner Michael Dinner, the opener of this 10-week series has the look and feel of a movie. Like “L.A.’s Finest,” it was made for the Spectrum system, seemingly with an ample budget; unlike “Finest,” it also has subtlety. This opener is a moving portrait of Richard Jewell, who went from scoffed-at security guard to accidental hero and then to FBI suspect. Cameron Britton is terrific in the role … as is Judith Light as his mom.
6) “The Masked Singer” opener, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Fox. Here’s the centerpiece of Fox’s fall – a ratings hit, adjusted for social distancing. The same judges are back and one, Ken Jeong, then hosts the gameshow – “I Can Hear Your Voice” – that follows at 9. That’s part of a busy Fox week: “Filthy Rich” (a frothy drama that turns soapy) at 9 p.m. today … “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” (gorgeous visuals, a bit monotone) from 8-10 p.m. Tuesday … wrestling, Friday; baseball, Saturday; and cartoons, Sunday.
7) “Star Trek: Discovery” opener, 10 p.m. Thursday, CBS. The six previous “Trek” series all focused on the captains. Not this time: Sonequa Martin-Green plays the science officer, a human raised in the Vulcan culture. She has Spock-ian logic and Kirk-ian passion, which nudges her close to mutiny in the opener. The hour – which previously aired on CBS All Access – feels a tad cold and militaristic. Still, there’s an epic look and feel to it; this is big-screen stuff, spectacular in its visuals and in its villains.
8) “Celebrity Family Feud,” 8 p.m. Thursday, ABC. Its dramas won’t be ready until Nov. 12, but ABC has new game-show episodes. That starts with Kathie Lee Gifford facing Ricki Lake and 2 Chainz facing Big Boi. Then come new rounds of “Press Your Luck” (three “legendary” contestants from the 1980s) and “Match Game.” Mixing things up, ABC also has football at 8:15 p.m. ET today (moving “Dancing With the Stars” to Tuesday) and a movie (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
9) “Greatest #AtHome Videos” return, 8 p.m. Friday, CBS. In the early days of the shutdown, people filled empty time with stunts and tricks on the internet. In May, CBS had “The Greatest #StayAtHome Videos,” a fun hour hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. Then it removed the word “stay” and had four specials in July and August. Now that’s back as a series. This hour includes MC Hammer’s virtual visit with the Alabama high school principal who made a video based on Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.”
10) Much more. Sunday will be packed with strong shows – instant proof that the new season is here. The “Fargo” season-opener – weirdly wonderful, with Chris Rock as a 1950 mobster – is 10 p.m. on FX. “The Comey Rule” – Jeff Daniels as the FBI chief – is fairly strong from 9-11 p.m. on Showtime — then ends powerfully the next night. At 8 p.m., CW starts a two-night pop-music special; at 9, PBS has an excellent “Van der Valk” mystery. And at 9 p.m. ET, CNN debuts “John Lewis: Good Trouble.”